# How much math do you need to know in order to do biology?

• Author
Posts
• #17521
Ohdmj
Participant

I’m currently in high school and I want to study biology at the university, but I struggle a lot with mathematics. How much math do you use in biology?

• #114337
wbla3335
Participant

It depends on the field of biology. If you want to study bugs and things, you could get by with no math. I’d avoid fields such as population genetics. Most of molecular biology is quite biochemical and so requires doing a lot of simple calculations, but it’s more arithmetic than mathematics. So there can be a lot or none. It’ll depend on what sort of biology you would like to do. Also, computers are our friends.

• #114345
Darby
Participant

It’s tough to get a degree in biology and not have to do a lot of math. Genetics, chemistry, ecology, physics are fairly math-intensive.

• #114346
JackBean
Participant

we’ve had just one semester (plus one obligatory and one voluntary semesters of physics) and that was it. And I still live and do some biochemistry. But honestly, I could use some more of real statistics or this stuff.

• #114360
biohazard
Participant

In my field (cellular & molecular biology, biotechnology), in practice, vast majority of maths involves calculating correct concentrations, cell numbers, molarities and other fairly basic stuff based on established formulas. When analyzing results you need also a degree of maths to calculate your p values and such, but statistical programs do most of the hard math on your behalf. During my university studies most of the tricky maths was in the biochemistry and especially chemistry classes.

So, in a nutshell, I’d say biology is not very maths intensive field but a good command of maths certainly won’t hurt you.

However, if you ‘struggle a lot’, then that might be a problem. Why don’t you borrow some university biochem textbooks or such and see how you do with the calculations? In my experience, high school maths should be enough for most of them, since few bio degrees have any proper maths courses included — you mostly use high school maths in the university as well (there may be regional differences, of course).

Oh, just noticed I used the term ‘maths’ all the time. Hope you bear with me!

• #115599
alison3492
Participant

Oh man. No one has a guess. Or can someone give me an idea where I could find out? Thanks

• #115601
jonmoulton
Participant

What are you trying to find out, Alison?